top of page
GOPR2361.JPG

 Pondicherry 

 "The Little France of India" 

[ Travel date : December 2021 ]

All packed and ready to go and cross that one item off my bucket list - "to spend my birthday in a new city" !!! My last journey for 2021, and I made it to a place I had been wanting to visit for a long time.

Puducherry... Pondicherry... Pondy !!!

A city of bon vivants, delicious food, and nature that will stay with you long after you leave. There are many ways to unwind this place, from yoga and meditation to exploring this city's heritage; from surfing or scuba diving to simply sitting by the beach. The vibe of this place is something you can never forget.

 

The famous heritage town, also known as the White Town, is a central part of this city that has been historically preserved. The area is divided into square blocks, each with its own French street name.

 

This is where you'll find the photogenic colorful walls and streets, as well as plenty of bougainvillea trees. I read somewhere, and I agree to that - "If Jaipur is the Pink City and Jodhpur is the Blue City, then Pondicherry is certainly the Yellow City".

Beaches of

The Bay of Bengal

Pondicherry, being located on India's eastern coast, is a great place to watch the sunrise from the beach. It’s not often you get to see a sunrise-gold beach. That's exactly what we did the next day. We walked to the Rock beach early in the morning after dragging my lazy self out of bed, and spent a lovely hour sitting and meandering along the seashore. As my eyes roam across the beach, I imagine how wonderful it would be if I could spend every morning here.

The Rock beach at the end of the White Town street caught my attention the whole time I was there. In the evening, I sat in front of the beach watching a mesmerizing view of the Bay of Bengal. The sea was a rippling blanket of blue, swirling with dormant strength, as gasping waves awaited full tide.

 

Rock beach, also known as Promenade beach extends over a 1.5 km path along the shoreline with monuments, statues, town halls, war memorials, and other attractions located on the opposite side of the street. One can spend hours at the seashore or in some café eating food while taking in the beautiful view.

GOPR2334.JPG

And, without a doubt, I spent my birthday morning on the beach too. This time we went to Auroville beach. The sky was clear and the sun was shining brightly on the beach's crystal clear water. It was less crowded being on the outskirts of the city. There were not many people around, especially in the morning, just few fishermen sailing in the sea and casting their nets. As I walked along the seashore, I felt the waves kissing my toes and playing a background music as they hit the shore. While gliding towards the sea, the sand felt smooth under my feet and had a soothing texture, like stepping on candy floss.

Despite the fact that sunsets cannot be seen from these beaches, this location has a completely different vibe in the evening. There are many beachside shops & stalls along the way, as well as cafes & restaurants to stop at while you're roaming around.

 

I loved going to "Le Café" by the seashore, listening to the waves as the ocean rolled into the shore and enjoy sipping hot coffee in the cold windy weather while watching the moon rise over the horizon, changing color from dark orange to milky white. You wouldn't even notice the passage of time.

Le Café, Rock beach
GOPR2327.JPG

MOONRISE from

Le Café, Rock beach

ezgif.com-gif-maker (6).gif
Cycling around the French quarters

 

Bicycles can be the most fun way to see this beautiful city. Explore White town on a vintage bicycle and discover the historic lanes and learn about this place's heritage and architecture.

 

There are many options for guided tours. One can book a guided tour for 2-3 hours for around 1000-1500 Rs. If you are more interested in exploring on your own, then picking up a bicycle is the cheapest option and will cost you around 200-300 Rs. We did the same and rented bicycle for two hours in the morning.

Religious attractions

Apart from the magnificent beaches, this city is also about prayers and beliefs. With old Romanian architectural churches, intricate carvings on temples and mosque and spiritual community of Aurobindo ashram, this city offers immense faith for many who pray to be free of all ailments.

When you search about Pondicherry, you'll also come across Auroville - an experimental township in India. Auroville is a must-see attraction in Pondicherry, known to be a place where people of various nationalities, cultures, and beliefs coexist peacefully. The Matrimandir, a modern structure with special significance for integral Yoga practitioners, is one of Auroville's main attractions. Though it's a must visit but due to extreme hot temperature and timing issues, I couldn't visit this place. Maybe I'll go the next time I'm in Pondicherry.

GOPR1958.jpg
Best Places to eat

 

In Pondicherry, food is strongly influenced by French culture and there are many fabulous food outlets to choose from. For a food lover, this place has a wide range of delicious and mouth-watering dishes that will leave your taste buds hungry for more. It's also one of the main reasons people come to Pondicherry.

 

  • Visit Le Café - in the morning to see the best sunrise while having your breakfast, and in the evening to see the beautiful moonrise while having your coffee.

  • Enjoy the ambience in Coramandel café with garden as well as a giant living room and try their pizza/burgers along with delicious dessert. This place is mind blowing when it comes to food.

  • Do not miss to taste the famous ice-cream of Gelateria Montecatini Terme (GMT Ice Cream) parlor. It is one of the oldest and the best one in Pondicherry.

  • Try gluten free pancakes of Bread and chocolate. One of the best I had till date.

  • Café des Arts - known for its "instagrammable ambience." Personally, I thought it was a little overhyped in terms of food. The food may not be to your liking.

When & How to reach

 

If you don't want to die from extreme heat, plan your trip during the winters. I went in the month of December and still, the temperature was really hot and around 30 degrees.


If you want to go to Pondicherry, you can fly to Chennai (the nearest airport) or any other major airport, then take a bus or cab.


Distance from major cities - 

  • Chennai (148 km): 3 hours drive

  • Bangalore (341 km): 7 hours drive

Where did I stay

You can find the best and budget-friendly places to stay in Pondicherry via Airbnb. There are numerous excellent options for homestays, private accommodations, and villas. If your trip is already planned, I would recommend booking your accommodations as soon as possible because good stays often sell out quickly, leaving you with limited options.

 

 

Due to unavailability during the peak holiday season, we booked two separate stays for my week-long trip. We stayed at a place called "Sunrise View Apartment" for the first three days. It was a terrace apartment with a single room in the core of White Town and near the beach. Best place to stay if you are planning to visit for more than a week or even if you are traveling solo. And for the next three days, I stayed at "Le Aham," which is about 6 kilometres from White Town and at a walking distance from the Auroville beach.

 

In short, if you are traveling solo or want to stay for a longer period, it's best to find a good homestay in White Town, and if you want to stay near the beach, there are good private villas or beach houses near Auroville or Serenity Beach.

If budget is not a problem, here's a link to the best places to stay in Pondicherry that I might recommend - Click here

 

Do share the article if you like it. Feel free to share your Pondicherry experiences below in comments for other travelers.

 

Until next time...

b8a5da_c8729b2dc9e742519f7387a7c2f898fa~mv2.jpg
Comments

Share Your ThoughtsBe the first to write a comment.
bottom of page